Healthcare is one of the largest industries in the world. It services hundreds of millions of people per day, generating trillions of dollars of revenue each year. As such, it’s a huge employer of people, and a huge driver of GDP globally. This is a sector that is also glamorized, especially in the wake of a pandemic when healthcare workers and vaccine researchers have become household heroes. If you’re looking to develop your knowledge about the healthcare industry, becoming a guru of the field, this article is for you. Below, you’ll learn how you can gain experience and knowledge that’ll help you contribute and excel in this important field.
If you’re just starting out in your career, you might not have a grasp of exactly where you might fit into the healthcare industry. There are obvious jobs out there, such as training to be a doctor or a nurse, and there are other more niche roles throughout the healthcare space – from logistics planners to researchers, academics and even medical trial patients. You should think carefully about the skills you have to offer the field, and how best they might be paired with the roles you unearth in your research.
Let’s take a couple of examples. If you’re passionate about learning and you’ve always felt that your role will one day be in academia, then it makes sense for you to think about the kind of medical research you’d like to run – and to head down that path by signing up to an undergraduate degree or a master’s degree. Meanwhile, if you have a love of logistical planning and organization, you may do better in the medical supply chain – where decision making is incredibly important in getting vital medicines from A to B.
There are many ways into the healthcare industry, and most of them require a level of education that goes beyond your schooling. Even while you’re in school, you should be concentrating on those subjects that you feel will be most valuable given your career aspirations. The obvious subjects for those interested in the healthcare industry are biology and the sciences, as well as math and English. But a well-rounded education is likely the best thing you can take from your time at school. After that, you’ll want to focus on further study.
There are hundreds of courses that are medical-adjacent, all of which can help you secure entry-level jobs in the field you’re interested in. Researchers may head to university and never leave, studying in the lab for many years to help develop new medicines. Doctors and nurses will train until they’re qualified to work in hospitals. Logistics experts will study supply chains, and health administration experts will do well to study an Executive online Masters Health Administration in order to gain vital skills in using medical data and patient details to help hospitals function. But how can you get into university in the first place?
Enrolling in University
For those who are daunted by the application process to join a university, you are certainly not alone. There are hoops to jump through in whatever course you’ll take, and things to consider before you submit your application and ready yourself for your course. Here are some of the key tasks you’ll want to consider before you submit your application to a university or a college:
- Which university will you study at? There are hundreds across the US and thousands across the world, and some are more difficult to get into than others. Consult your grades to see which is a realistic prospect for you.
- Where will you live? Some courses require you to attend in person, which means moving from your current home to a hall of residence or student accommodation. Research living areas and conditions to get a better idea of where you’d be moving to.
- Can you study online? Online studying means you’ll be able to maintain your current lifestyle, including holding down your job or taking care of your family, alongside your studies. It’s often a cheaper option for students.
- How will you pay? University is expensive, and you’ll want to work out how you’ll pay for your studies before you apply to a course. Loan schemes are available to help you, though it’s worth bearing in mind that these can keep you in debt for many years after your studies.
With all of these considerations thought through, you’ll be ready to apply to a university. This is an exciting moment, and one that could lead you swiftly into the career that you’ve set your sights on. Make sure your application is perfect, with all the relevant information supplied, in order to stand the best chance of being accepted.
Other Learning Sources
The university route is just one that you can take in order to make your way into the healthcare sector as a worker. You can also choose to embark on a program of self-motivated independent study, which may not furnish you with a degree certificate but will still give you valuable knowledge on your way to becoming a healthcare guru. There are literally thousands of resources that you can access over the internet to help you build up with knowhow, including:
- Books published in the areas you’re interested in. There are general healthcare textbooks that introduce you to the entire field, specific textbooks that train certain skills, and non-fiction, engaging books about the life of healthcare workers around the world.
- Online PDFs and reports, which you can access via journals. These will share details of studies and other medical breakthroughs with you from the source. You can also read reviews of this literature on medical blogs and websites, or through the mainstream media.
- Podcasts are an excellent way of picking up new information while you’re on the move. Sign up to receive podcasts from doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to understand the challenges currently faced by the industry.
- Short courses held online. These are a wonderful entryway into the world of further education without necessarily taking a full university course. Modules will introduce you to different aspects of healthcare, with many being free or provided for a small fee.
- YouTube lectures and tutorials, which are full of insights that it might take you far longer to reach in a book. Find some of the most compelling healthcare speakers in the world on video platforms in order to be taught by the best educators in the business.
Education isn’t something that is simply done to you after you leave school – it’s something you can also build yourself, with the resources that are available online. Slowly working through these while making notes is an important way to get ahead in the healthcare sector as a while.
Getting Work Experience
Yet another path into the sector is via work experience which will see you work temporarily in a healthcare firm in order to gain on-the-floor experience in a variety of roles. There are many healthcare companies and institutions in your area, and all you’ll need to do to give yourself a chance of gaining some valuable experience within them is to reach out directly. You could pop into these offices and buildings in order to speak to a receptionist about organizing a short meeting with a manager, or you could ring up or drop an email to see if there are any opportunities for young and ambitious people to work in the organization for a small period of time.
If you don’t have a university degree certificate, work experience may be your quickest way of onboarding information about the slice of the sector you’re interested in working within. It’s also an opportunity to prove yourself a hard and thoughtful worker, trying hard to learn as soon as possible and to be helpful to your temporary colleagues. If you make a good impression, there’s also a chance that you’ll be hired on a full-time basis, giving you your first job in healthcare and helping you to climb the ladder towards being a guru of the field later in life.
There are so many more opportunities to learn about the field of healthcare after you’ve secured your first job. You should immediately look out for senior colleagues who might be willing to mentor you in your first months and years in the job. Many workers are happy to do this, in the knowledge that they’re passing down this know-how to the next generation of workers. Don’t take everything that senior colleagues say as truth, though – you’re from a new generation with experience in digital technology and advanced software. You may well have ideas for how an office could run more efficiently that more senior staff are unaware of. Do introduce these ideas at team meetings if you feel they’re appropriate.
Meanwhile, you should always be on the lookout for opportunities to expand your knowledge, your experience, and your contact book. The most ambitious workers – and future healthcare gurus – will not only read and watch educational material in their own time. They’ll also make sure they’re attending every possible lecture, conference, workshop, seminar and industry event in order to speak with people in different areas of healthcare. They’ll ask for on-the-job training in different areas of healthcare in order to flesh out their skills. Overall, they’ll be constantly looking to grow, learn and expand. That’s something that sets apart the future healthcare gurus from people who coast through their career without realizing their potential.
Promotions and Pay Rises
You’ll want to focus on promotions when you’re working in healthcare. That’s the same in other industries of course, but without certain promotions you’ll simply not gain the experience necessary to become a healthcare guru, capable of giving thought leadership speeches and representing your firm at conferences and talks. Promotions and pay rises are usually linked to the amount of time you’ve spent in your current role and the promise you’ve shown in it. The more promise you show, the less time you’ll have to wait for that promotion to come through. Of course, the advice here is therefore simple: work hard, and try to impress at all times.
That takes hard work and dedication. You’ll want to make sure that you’re completing your work to deadlines and to a very high quality. Once you’ve taken care of your basic responsibilities, you should look to find ways that you can help senior colleagues with their work, which will expose you to the higher level of work that you may soon be doing if you’re promoted. Also consider ways in which you can improve your working processes, introducing your team to software that can make all of your lives easier. Be a self-starter and a proactive employee in order to turn heads and earn approving nods when your seniors gather to discuss the next tranche of promotions.
The final important stage in becoming a healthcare guru is all about self-promotion. You’ll want to establish yourself in whichever institution you are working, be that a hospital, a research center or an administrative facility. You’ll achieve that with excellent networking and a consistently excellent track record of work. You’ll not only complete projects to their deadlines, but you’ll also shape the direction of projects and determine whether they’re truly effective. You’ll also be an inspirational leader and someone who helps younger and more junior workers thrive.
Alongside those successes at work, you should also consider your impact beyond the four walls of your office. Try to get on the bill at certain conferences in order to demonstrate your experiences and ideas to a wide and influential audience. Establish a presence on social media, and seek to have your work published in relevant industry magazines. All of this will help you become an established guru in your particular field of healthcare.
These tips are all design to help you get your first job in healthcare, and then to excel on from that point to the stage at which you’re able to influence the field as a whole, and certainly the direction of the institution in which you work.